Today in History
December 6
1492Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Santo Domingo in search of gold.
1776Phi Beta Kappa, the first scholastic fraternity, is founded at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.
1812The majority of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand Armeé staggers into Vilna, Lithuania, ending the failed Russian campaign.
1861Union General George G. Meade leads a foraging expedition to Gunnell's farm near Dranesville, Virginia.
1862President Abraham Lincoln orders the hanging of 39 of the 303 convicted Indians who participated in the Sioux Uprising in Minnesota. They are to be hanged on December 26.
1863The monitor Weehawken sinks in Charleston Harbor.
1876Jack McCall is convicted for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok and sentenced to hang.
1877Thomas A. Edison makes the first sound recording when he recites "Mary had a Little Lamb" into his phonograph machine.
1906Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge flies a powered, man-carrying kite that carries him 168 feet in the air for seven minutes at Baddeck, Nova Scotia.
1917The Bolsheviks imprison Czar Nicholas II and his family in Tobolsk.
1921Ireland's 26 southern counties become independent from Britain forming the Irish Free State.
1922Benito Mussolini threatens Italian newspapers with censorship if they keep reporting "false" information.
1934American Ambassador Davis says Japan is a grave security threat in the Pacific.
1938France and Germany sign a treaty of friendship.
1939Britain agrees to send arms to Finland, which is fighting off a Soviet invasion.
1941President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues a personal appeal to Emperor Hirohito to use his influence to avoid war.
1945The United States extends a $3 billion loan to Great Britain to help compensate for the termination of the Lend-Lease agreement.
1947Florida's Everglades National Park is established.
1948The "Pumpkin Spy Papers" are found on the Maryland farm of Whittaker Chambers. They become evidence that State Department employee Alger Hiss is spying for the Soviet Union.
1976Democrat Tip O'Neill is elected speaker of the House of Representatives. He will serve the longest consecutive term as speaker.



Born on December 6
1421Henry VI, the youngest king of England to accede to the throne (only 269 days old).
1886Joyce Kilmer, American poet, best known for "Trees."
1896Ira Gershwin, American lyricist and musical collaborator with his brother George.
1898Alfred Eisenstaedt, photojournalist.
1898Gunnar Myrdal, Swedish economist and sociologist.
1901Eliot Porter, nature photographer.
1920Dave Brubeck, jazz pianist and composer.
1942Peter Handke, playwright and poet.

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